Good customer service is fundamental to the long term success of any business. It is expensive to attract new customers and the task only gets larger with time because a small amount of growth is required each year by the business in order to offset the rising cost of living. This means that if customers are not being retained and enticed to return then the expensive task of attracting new clients will become larger year after year.
But what exactly is good customer service? Is it a matter of bending over backward to cater to the customer’s every need? Well, maybe. Strict definitions aside, it is a fair bet to say that good customer service occurs when expectations are met or exceeded.
The level of service that is expected by customers is subjective and varies between industries. In industries where the standard is very high such as hospitality then it takes a greater effort on the service provider’s part just to make par. And that is where experience shines. Understanding the standards set within your own industry means that you can provide good customer service in the most efficient manner possible.
Objective self reflection is also an important part of your service delivery model. Business owners can tend to excuse their company’s flaws because they understand the challenges or cost of correcting them. This is a serious trap for business owners and one that can impede the delivery of good customer service.
For this reason, it is important for businesses to have processes in place to assess the real customer experience. For best long term results the assessment should be quantitative so that trends can be identified. A simple score out of 10 for courtesy, speed of service, quality of the product, feedback or any other relevant metric can help to numerically describe the level of service at any given time.
But it is the collection of many assessments over time that will provide the real insight into the level of customer service. Not only does the information help you to assess the business performance in terms of customer experience, but it also helps to provide solid information on how to better distribute limited capital funds into areas that can make the most difference.
Lastly, good customer service takes effort, knowledge, self reflection and honesty. Without these attributes one can easily skew the results of the analysis. But skewed results will not help the customer or the business. Conversely, an honest appraisal can highlight strengths and help the businesses to mitigate weaknesses. And that in turn can have outstanding results for everybody.
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